Since getting back from Texas I’ve treated Leicester like I’m in first year again – I’ve probably already socialised more this year than I did in my entire first year (which I know is a pretty bad reflection on my first year). I’ve been getting out, meeting new people, and most of all trying to make the most of my last year at Leicester. I’ve joined three societies, including Curry and Quidditch, and I’ve attended all of the events I could in the past week in an effort to meet new people since many of my friends graduated and left Leicester.
Today I finally did something I’ve wanted to do since first year but, for whatever reason, I just never got around to. I went to my first Quidditch training session. When originally searching for universities I used the presence of a Harry Potter society or Quidditch team to narrow down my open day short list, but was worried I would be too unfit to join in and avoided quidditch once I actually got to Leicester and realised how physically intense it is.
Quidditch, in the muggle world, is an all-gender full contact sport that is based on the game of the same name in the Harry Potter books and it is a whole lot of fun. Much like the game in the books there are three chasers, two beaters, a keeper, and a seeker on the pitch. It’s the chasers job to work with each other to get the quaffle through one of three hoops at the end of the pitch and earn their team points (ten per goal.) The beaters use dodgeballs to ‘beat’ opponents and force them to dismount their broom and go to their end of the pitch and touch a hoop to re-join the game. The keeper’s job is to stop the opposing chasers scoring and help their teams’ chasers score. The seeker has to catch the snitch, a ball attached to another player who is ‘released’ after eighteen minutes of match play. The game ends after the snitch is caught, with the team that catches it getting thirty points. The ‘brooms’ are pieces of PVC piping that are placed between a players’ legs, and between the brooms and the hoops the quidditch team attracts lots of curious onlookers in Victoria Park.
The Leicester Thestrals had taster sessions on Wednesday and Sunday this week and I went today, slightly nervous with a large bottle of water and some football boots in my bag. I finally plucked up the courage because I want to do more exercise this year and so something different that I’d always want to do seemed perfect. While the warm up left me more than a little out of breath the positive and friendly atmosphere allowed players to take breaks and substitute out from games whenever needed so I was able to keep up. The taster session allowed new players to try out all of the various positions and experience full game play, and although I thought I’d prefer being a beater I enjoyed chasing the most. I’m already planning to go to some competitions with the Thestrals this semester, as it was so nice to learn a new sport in a friendly and supportive environment. I really regret not joining earlier, but I’m glad I finally took the plunge.
So, if you’ve done something new or something that you’ve always wanted to do (or both!) this Fresher’s week let me know in comments. University is a great time to get involved with new and exciting things, so make sure you throw yourself in from day one and don’t end up regretting missing out on two years of fun like I did!